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PlayStation (Games) Sony Games

PS4: What Sony Should and Shouldn't Do 406

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-sell-them-at-a-massive-loss dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "As a follow-up to his piece on Xbox 720, veteran games journalist Chris Morris has put together some thoughtful advice on what Sony needs to do (and needs to avoid) to ensure that the next generation PlayStation is a success. In particular, Morris notes that Sony must 'look beyond games' to create a fully fledged entertainment hub: 'Nintendo has been pretty adamant that it has little interest in content beyond games. Microsoft seems to be rushing to embrace the set top box world. Sony, though, seems a bit confused about what it wants.'"
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PS4: What Sony Should and Shouldn't Do

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  • Future of Nintendo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bonch (38532) * on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:49PM (#38732740)

    Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle? The Wii U didn't grab the same attention that the original Wii did, and Nintendo is being attacked on two fronts--the hardcore market with the PS3 and Xbox 360, and casual gaming with the iPhone. Nintendo always had handheld sales to fall back on, but sales of the 3DS have been underwhelming, forcing an early price drop. It seems like Nintendo backed itself into a corner with the Wii, tying the company too intimately with the casual gaming market, whose gamers are fickle and prone to jump onto the next big thing, which turned out to be the iPhone.

    Yes, yes, I realize people have been declaring Nintendo to be doomed since the Nintendo 64, but just because they survived previous eras doesn't mean they will survive the next one. Nintendo's stock price jumped [bloomberg.com] after a rumor that Pokemon was coming to the iPhone, which turned out to be untrue. It just seems more than ever that it makes little sense for Nintendo not to become a software developer, since that is what they are most famous for in spite of their trend-setting controllers. Yet despite the novelty of the Wii remote, I still prefer the Dual Shock.

    I love Nintendo's classics, but their refusal to embrace online play on the same level of their competitors as well as their reliance on nostalgia titles is frustrating. Sadly, I haven't turned on my Wii in so long that I can't even remember the last time. I think the last game I played on it was was Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, an old PC-Engine game, and only because it's Wii-exclusive.

    • by walshy007 (906710)

      Yet despite the novelty of the Wii remote, I still prefer the Dual Shock.

      Which quite ironically, is pretty much just a snes pad with one extra l/r button with a knee jerk reaction to the n64's analog stick.

      Personally I find the gamecube controller to be the most ergonomic of all controllers presently released that are typical gaming controllers. I admit it takes a bit of getting used to but as adament of a snes fan as I am it does just feel more comfortable once you are used to the layout.

    • by Liam Pomfret (1737150) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:08PM (#38732974)
      Sales of the 3DS underwhelming? At the initial price point, before its flagship titles had been launched, sure. At the current price point, with those flagship Mario titles now released, the 3DS is absolutely *flogging* the opposition. By the beginning of December, the 3DS had already passed the 1st year sales of the original DS. What's more, the 3DS has sold more in its first 9 months than the *Wii* did in its first 9 months. The idea that the 3DS is doomed is preposterous. The way you're painting things with the "war on two fronts", and Nintendo being able to "fall back on" handheld sales, you make it seem as if Nintendo lost the home console war to the PS3 and XBox360. Just in case you missed it with the howling of "hardcore gamers" and fanboys, the Wii thoroughly flogged them. Seriously, Nintendo is in no danger at this point. I'm not saying Nintendo's done everything perfect, there's plenty of things they could have done a lot better. But their financials aren't really an issue. Nintendo made a loss, and people are making a big issue out of it, but it's really a red herring. Hell, a huge reason (if not the main reason) for that loss was the strong yen, not the sales performance of the 3DS.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bonch (38532) *

        Just in case you missed it with the howling of "hardcore gamers" and fanboys, the Wii thoroughly flogged them.

        The Wii's sales began to significantly drop several years ago. Last May, sales were down 38% year-over-year and fell to record lows in Japan. Before you claim that its due to lifespan, the PS2 is still selling like hotcakes. 3DS sales rose 260% after the price drop but were still less than the DS's sales in the comparable time period a year prior (which shows you just how much of a flop the 3DS was

        • by Azuaron (1480137) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:37PM (#38733288)

          You apparently haven't looked at hotcake sales for the past decade. You can't move hotcakes. You say you've got some hotcakes for sale, and people are like, "I want ice cream cake!" And then you have to explain that you mean pancakes. But now they just want ice cream cake, or frosted cake, and all you have is syrup-drenched flapjacks.

          It's a sad life being a hotcake salesman, let me tell you.

          All joking aside, citing current PS2 sales is hardly relevant, since the PS3 doesn't have the same kind of record: Nintendo's current generation has beaten the pants of the current generations of Microsoft and Sony, and the Wii U's reception has been similar to that of the Wii months before its release.

          Pretty much, it's impossible to say how well the Wii U is going to sell, and I definitely wouldn't short Nintendo's stock quite yet. They're scrappy, scrappy fighters with a rabid fanbase that has absorbed what was left of Sega's rabid fanbase. That's a lot of rabid.

          • What do you have against the Genesis or the Saturn
            or do you have a problem with Sonic.... wannna fight .....
            Mouth rabidly foaming

          • a rabid fanbase that has absorbed what was left of Sega's rabid fanbase. That's a lot of rabid.

            I dont know, most of Sega's fanbase was absorbed by microsoft i think. The original xbox had a shitload of games derived from saturn/dreamcast classics, built by those same teams. I know that the dreamcast (in 2002, after its demise), was my gateway drug into the world of xbox gaming, well after i got a gamecube.

            And i think that save for the die-hard zelda fanboys, nintendo has managed to alienate a good portion of its traditional fanbase with the Wii, a huge portion of the wii's succes is down to its appea

        • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:55PM (#38733914)

          The Wii's sales began to significantly drop several years ago. Last May, sales were down 38% year-over-year and fell to record lows in Japan.

          Nice attempt to frame the argument.

          But the Wii has sold a lot more consoles then Sony and Microsoft. Also remember that Sony had to significantly redesign it's console to stop it haemorrhaging money and Microsoft has also redesigned it's console as well as various versions (Arcade, Elite).

          Wii, 1 production model: 90 million sold.
          Xbox360, 4 production models: 66 million sold.
          PS3, 2 production models: 55 million sold.

          Telling me that sales of the Wii has dropped is simply saying they aren't selling as phenomenally well as they were when it was released, the same thing happened with the Xbox360. This simply indicates it's reached it's saturation point, not an indication of product failure. A slow down in sales after 5 years is normal. The PS3 on the other hand did not experience the majority of its sales after it's redesign.

          • by DrXym (126579)
            It's not just about number of consoles sold but attach rate and other factors. Nintendo slapped a substantial markup on their console and didn't do enough to encourage 3rd parties. People weren't buying enough games (not surprising the amount of shovelware the platform enjoys) and so when sales dropped so did profits. And Nintendo has been notoriously awful on the online side of things so it couldn't profit there either from online subscriptions, movie rentals, full price games, DLC etc.

            So yeah it sold mo

          • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @05:32AM (#38735858)

            The problem is I don't think it's as simple as simple sales rates anymore, with this gen introducing services and other content too, the number of units shifted is a pretty pointless measure of success for a company and acts as little more than a number for fanboys to have a little circle jerk over.

            There's a pretty fair argument that the additional profit from games (higher price point, higher attach rate) for the other two consoles, as well as the income from downloadable game addons, downloadable movies, music, avatars, and all that cruft, and profits from addons (Move/Kinect) as well as service subscriptions themselves (i.e. XBox Live) that Sony and Microsoft have probably actually made more profit than Nintendo despite the lower units sold for Microsoft and Sony's consoles.

            The units sold only matters if you can monetise those units, and Nintendo has out and out failed to do so. Microsoft and Sony have in contrast had solid, and fairly succesful plans.

            I don't even like Sony in the slightest, so it pains me somewhat to offer somewhat of a defence for them, but the fact is whilst Nintendo had the potential to be far and away the winner in terms of profits this console round due to their large install base, they completely failed to take advantage of that, and that, coupled with the early failure of the 3DS (even if it's picking up now) is why Nintendo has struggled financially, the Yen is certainly going to be part the problem, but not to the extent they're claiming. I like Microsoft a bit more, but recognise they still have a long way to go in terms of ethics in some areas.

            It takes more than just shipping a succesful console to have a profitable games console division or business, you need to be able to shift games, and nowadays, many other types of content and subscriptions with it to boot.

            I'd like to see Nintendo thrive, because IMO they're the most ethical of the console manufacturers, and so deserve to based on that, but time and time again they throw their growth away. This is fundamentally the difference between them, and say, Apple over the last few years, Nintendo has all the good will that Apple has (or at least had) and the strong massively loyal fanbase to boot, but whilst Apple has had a handful of failures too, Apple has been far more consistent in it's successes, whilst Nintendo has been painfully inconsistent. They need to maintain the kind of momentum they had when they released the Wii, but instead they keep letting it slip away time and time again. Because I do like Nintendo and think that from a moral point of view they deserve to do well, because they are fairly ethical, it genuinely does pain me to see them keep doing this. It's what I imagine having a daughter, who dates the odd brilliant guy with a phd, and high paying job, that really thinks the world of them, only to keep dumping them for countless douchebags in between must be like- you still love them, but it isn't going to stop you shaking your head in despair and having a go at them when they're being so fucking stupid.

            • I'd like to see Nintendo thrive, because IMO they're the most ethical of the console manufacturers

              Ethical including discriminating against startups and home-based family businesses? (source) [warioworld.com] How is a new video game development company supposed to become established in the video game industry in the first place? At least Microsoft has Xbox Live Indie Games, whose barrier to entry isn't any higher than, say, iOS development.

              • by tlhIngan (30335)

                Ethical including discriminating against startups and home-based family businesses? (source) How is a new video game development company supposed to become established in the video game industry in the first place? At least Microsoft has Xbox Live Indie Games, whose barrier to entry isn't any higher than, say, iOS development.

                Newsflash - if you want to sell a game on Xbox360 or PS3, you have to agree to terms very similar to that! (Wii SDK is cheaper at $5000 or so, while PS3 and Xbox360 is over $10,000, ea

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        3DS isn't being sold for a loss, despite Nintendo's claims. BoM is $10 higher than original DSPhat. Not coincidentally 3DS is being sold for exactly $10 more than the original DSPhat. Nintendo was hoping to achieve Apple margins on their hardware, but they're just not good enough to do that. The 3DS is rather ugly, requires a "circlepad" peripheral that makes it look even worse, has terrible battery life, a difficult to use parallax screen, and lacks much of the functionality or power of modern devices.

        • by tudsworth (1919278) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:20AM (#38738220)
          The Circle Pad Pro, as Nintendo have taken to calling it, is by no means required. Certain games (Ace Combat, Resident Evil Revelations, Metal Gear, Monster Hunter and many others I'm too lazy to name) use it as a second analogue stick (optional camera controls, basically), but none of them -require- it. In fact, I play Monster Hunter on my Japanese 3DS without the Circle Pad Pro; and it works just fine.
          On top of this, none of the games announced to have support for the peripheral actually -require- it, yet. That might change over the next year or so, but until then, the Circle Pad Pro is far from a required add-on.
    • by blahplusplus (757119) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:23PM (#38733162)

      "Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle?"

      Problem with nintendo is game quality. They used to be 'must have' but beginning with the cube they put out real stinkers like Starfox adventures and assault. Totally ruined one of their KEY franchises by listening to stupid miyamoto over the starfox developer (you can google it). Metroid prime 3 was nothing to write home about and Twilight princess and Skyward sword can't keep up with other action games like God of war, devil may cry.

      Nintendo's game development culture is stagnating under the reigns of developers who don't really get gaming and are doing 'the same old thing'. I knew nintendo lost it once I saw what they did to starfox and definitely when twilight princess was released with huge quality problems all over the map.

      Nintendo isn't learning from other games that have 'done it better' and they desperately need to do it. They used to be a 'gamers' game company now they are just stuck in doing the same things they've always done.

      Nintendo sadly is not intelligent enough as a company, they keep making dumb ass mistakes. The 64 with the cartridges, the lack of games and stupid 1.5GB mini-discs instead of DVD's (making porting more costly/hard for 3rd party game companies), then the lack of hardware power with the Wii which ensured no easy way to run multi-platform games. (pure idiocy).

      As far as I'm concerned Nintendo is run by idiots at this point, and the Wii was a one hit home-run which will not be repeated again if they don't fucking hardware power + software support up. The Wii suffered again from lack of software that core gamers want, that's not a good thing to have as a game company.

      At this point Nintendo should seriously think about multi-platforming it's games instead of trying to lock them down and make money on hardware. Gaming audiences now game on multi-platforms and the end is nigh for locked in hardware if you want to squeeze as much money as possible out of your software. Just look at all the big software companies - always releasing games on as many platforms as possible. Nintendo can't just keep it's software on it's own machines and hope to compete it needs software developer on the inside that makes games for other platforms because it's leaving money on the table for competitors.

    • Sadly, I haven't turned on my Wii in so long that I can't even remember the last time.

      Ditto. I bought my Wii a week or so after launch and had a blast playing with it for about 6 months or so, then it just got boring. Looking back on it, I think it was just the novelty of the controls that kept me interested in it even for that short amount of time. Outside of a handful of Wii exclusives (Zelda, Mario Galaxy) there was really nothing to pique my interest and keep it piqued...

      Such a shame...I grew up on the NES, SNES, and original Gameboy, but they've really slipped a lot since the N64 day

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Azuaron (1480137)

      Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle? The Wii U didn't grab the same attention that the original Wii did...

      Haha. I remember just before the original Wii came out. The "attention" it garnered was "what's wrong with its name?" and everyone predicted it would bomb. I expect to be saying that same sentence a couple years after the Wii U comes out with very little modification.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:43PM (#38733826) Homepage

      Somehow I don't see either Apple, Sony nor Microsoft really threatening the core audience of Nintendo, it's still the console I'd buy for a kid where Super Mario Galaxy is an age-appropriate game. Backed themselves into a corner? I'd say the Wii was a huge unnatural success in markets Nintendo would never usually reach, hell it still has a lead of 30 million units sold on both the PS3 and XBox360 (95 vs 60 vs 65). If I'm trying to think age brackets I'd guess 30 vs 60 vs 60 would be more what I'm thinking. I don't think they'll make another monster hit like that, the controller was something extremely unique and innovative in 2006 to get people off their chairs and into action but with Kinect and motion analyzing cameras that market is pretty saturated and you can't expect them to pull off something like that in each generation.

    • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:43PM (#38733832)

      Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle?

      Nope.

      Out of all three console manufacturers, Nintendo is in the least peril. First from the Billions the Wii made, next from the strategy Nintendo is following.

      Nintendo understands that consoles are casual. They always were and will continue to be for casual gamers. The most casual console of the last three generations ended up being the victors.

      I love Nintendo's classics, but their refusal to embrace online play on the same level of their competitors as well as their reliance on nostalgia titles is frustrating.

      This is the opposite of most peoples experience with Nintendo. Most console owners dont want to play online competitively, they play for 4 maybe 5 hours per week so they simply want a machine that starts quickly and is easy to use as well as having games which are simple and fun to play.

      Of all the console manufacturers, the one I'd be worried about is Sony. Sony cant afford another loss leader like the PS3, in five years the PS3 hasn't become profitable, let alone made it into the black. It took 3 years for them to stop selling the each unit at a loss. However this is not the problem. Nintendo has shown that consoles are casual, yet I doubt Sony has learned this, they still seem intent on chasing a more dedicated gamer which simply doesn't exist in sufficient numbers on the console. A PS4 with the financials of the PS3 will probably sink the entire PlayStation division given the utter failures of the Playstation Phone, Playstation Portable and PS Vita.

      Microsoft will probably release an overpowered casual console, remaining decidedly indecisive but openly willing to chase the casual dollars. If MS is good at anything it's following the leader.

      As for the Wii U, yep, it may be evolutionary rather then revolutionary but at least Nintendo is trying new things. It probably wont be the smashing success that the Wii was but unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo can afford for the Wii U to be lacklustre although I highly doubt it will be. It probably wont sell like the Wii did, but it will still do well.

    • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:58PM (#38734290)

      Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle?

      No, because Nintendo has received cynicism every new console generation since the N64, and last I checked the Wii mopped the floor with the Xbox and PS3 for about 4 straight years, and followed it up by annihilating the PSP in sales with their DS.

      And if I recall correctly, this was the Wii which was panned prior to its release for its bad graphics, stupid name, and awkward controllers, which turned out to be some of the reasons that everyone loved the thing.

      So no, any speculation about how Nintendo is dying will be unconvincing until the numbers are actually out.

    • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @12:16AM (#38734388) Homepage

      Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle? The Wii U didn't grab the same attention that the original Wii did, and Nintendo is being attacked on two fronts--the hardcore market with the PS3 and Xbox 360, and casual gaming with the iPhone. Nintendo always had handheld sales to fall back on, but sales of the 3DS have been underwhelming, forcing an early price drop. It seems like Nintendo backed itself into a corner with the Wii, tying the company too intimately with the casual gaming market, whose gamers are fickle and prone to jump onto the next big thing, which turned out to be the iPhone.

      Er, someone already corrected you about the 3DS comment, but I feel the urge to point out that the WIiU's graphics look amazing [youtube.com].

      Here's the nightmare scenario for Microsoft and Sony, and why both of them tried to retrofit motion controls into their console:

      The big joke of the last 3 generations is that Nintendo has put together under-performing hardware. You simply can't run the same amount of processing power on a Wii, Gamecube, etc as you could with comparable consoles. What they do have this generation is something the other two cannot compete with them over -- motion controls.

      Now, the problem facing Sony and Microsoft is that Nintendo can now afford to put out a console with good graphics capability and keep the console very affordable. As any PC gamer knows, game graphics aren't getting any better. A sub $100 card [tomshardware.com] is enough to run video games at a very respectable resolution and quality. You can bump up the AA, the filtering, the resolution by buying a bigger card, but all things considered, we've hit a plateau. What's more, the games aren't even using these advanced cards to their fullest -- and they can't. It's just too expensive to make games with these ultra quality graphics.

      The WiiU will be able to play PC ported games. It will be able to feature match Microsoft and Sony, AND has features they cannot match -- high quality, 3rd generation Motion Controls and an integrated tablet for a second viewport and touch screen gaming.

      So here's the question that the next generation is going to have to answer -- if the WiiU can play the same games as the PS3 / PS4 / XBox 360 / XBox Next, and can play the WiiU exclusive games... Why in the world would you ever buy the more expensive PS4/XBox Next?

      • by sunspot42 (455706) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @01:04AM (#38734610)

        I've had similar thoughts about the Wii U. Brings them to relative hardware parity with the current Sony and MS boxen. Will beat their rivals next-gen systems to market by at least a couple of years. May not move a zillion units, but should be profitable and keep Nintendo in the game.

        Sony and Microsoft have bigger problems to contend with, too. For starters, developing a next-gen console that can blow the Wii U away will likely cost $5-$10 billion a piece. That's a ton of cash to sink into a very crowded space where success is certainly not assured.

        Beyond the hardware there's an even bigger chicken and egg problem Sony and MS would face with a new platform. Developing games that fully exploit such a monster will tax the resources of all but the very largest developers. Will developers be willing to invest ungodly sums developing new games for bleeding edge platforms that - at least initially - will sport miniscule userbases? We're talking sinking maybe $100 million into building a single title that you can only sell to - at most - a couple million users (at least for a year or two). I just don't see how you can get the economics to work for a new console anytime in the near future. And without a library of games, why spend $300 or whatever on a new console? Hardcore gamers alone just can't support a platform by themselves - not with development costs reaching into the stratosphere - so you have to bring a bunch of casual gamers onboard fairly quickly. I just don't see that happening.

        Especially not with Apple muscling its way into the gaming business with the iPhone, iPad and - soon, it would appear - their own TV. Yeah, I'm sure their devices won't have anywhere near the hardware specs of the PS4 or whatever, but it's hard to compete with a platform that's dead simple to use and where the games sell for $5 or less and you can play them anywhere you want. And if Apple has any luck as a "console" in the living room, you can bet Google will be right behind them with Android. How do you compete with free?

        I wouldn't be surprised to see hardcore gaming migrate back to the PC. And if you do start to see that happening, it's game over for the consoles.

      • by caitsith01 (606117) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @04:03AM (#38735500) Journal

        the WIiU's graphics look amazing [youtube.com].

        You haven't seen a PC game in the last 5 years, I take it? Those graphics look pretty average, and I'm very confident the PS4 and next Xbox will be vastly better.

      • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@nOspaM.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @08:24AM (#38736622) Homepage

        PC Game graphics have mostly plateaued *due* to the 360 and PS3; almost everything has to have a console version these days so there's little to no incentive to make the PC version look any better than the consoles can manage.

        You only have to look at some of the PC games that *have* gone the extra mile (Witcher 2, Crysis 2 DX11, Deus Ex HR, etc) to see how much better gaming graphics can be when they're not limited by 7 year old console hardware.

      • by Miamicanes (730264) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:51AM (#38738572)

        > The big joke of the last 3 generations is that Nintendo has put together under-performing hardware

        You're overlooking the 400-ton elephant wearing a pink tutu standing over in the corner -- 1080i60. As much as we'd like for it to be true, native 1080pAnything is far from universal. You'd be horrified if you saw the architectural mess inside most mass-market sub-$400 LCD TV controller ASICs -- it makes the parallelport-semi-SCSI-kludged-to-USB trainwreck that evolved with scanners look downright elegant by comparison.

        The raw panels themselves can do 24p, 30p, and 60p without drama, but the brain-damaged controllers driving them were value-engineered to just kludge anything besides 720p60 the same way they always have -- they bob it (ie, they treat 1920x1080 16:9 interlaced video as 1920x540 16:9 progressive video, then resample it to 1366x768).

        When presented with 1080p24, instead of just natively showing it at 24fps, they stupidly apply 3:2 pulldown to emulate 1080i60 and pass it to the same braindamaged controller. I've seen cheap LCD TVs that somehow managed to end up with weave artifacts out of 1080p30 source. And today's Walmart crap is the semi-high-end from 5 years ago.

        Put another way, it's going to be at least another 10 years before you can confidently throw out 1080p60 video and expect butter-smooth artifact-free rendering on the TVs in most living rooms. With current TVs out "in the wild", modes like 1080p24 and 1080p30, let alone 1080p60, are too inconsistently-implemented to risk depending on... and true 1080i60 looks like crap on anything besides a 240hz set that uses oversampling to emulate interlace fade. So we get the least common denominator -- 1080p30 pretending to be 1080i60, that 10-20% of TVs still manage to screw up and butcher.

        Of course, 720p60 works well on just about everything. Unfortunately, 720p60 isn't sexy enough for the marketing department. So instead of getting judder-free butter-smooth 1280x720 60fps video without glitches, and with enough filtering to be almost indistinguishable from real-life, we end up with 1080i60 video that looks like crap.

        That's the sad truth. 720p60 isn't good enough for the marketing department, 1080i60 rendered AS 1080i60 looks like crap on most TVs. 1080p60 is a fantasy in 94% of the homes in America, 1080p24 is badly-implemented in at least a quarter of the TVs out there, and 5-10% somehow manage to even screw up 1080p30 encoded as fake 1080i60.

        • by Miamicanes (730264) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @05:06PM (#38741710)

          Oh... just to add... in case anybody is wondering why interlacing is a NEW problem, it's because old videogames and home computers tricked TVs into scanning EVERY field as if it were an "odd" field, instead of scanning odd fields, then even fields. That's why they had black scanline artifacts between every other row of pixels. In effect, they tricked CRT TVs into pseudo-progressive 60fps mode by scanning the same field over and over again & leaving the even field's scanlines dark, instead of alternating between the odd and even fields (refreshing each 30 times per second).

          There's a bigger problem lurking with "true" HD video -- 50 & 60 fps isn't fast enough to climb out of the "Uncanny Valley". It turns out, the white papers written back in the 80s and 90s were biased by the physical behavior of film and CRT displays, and made lots of assumptions that fall apart when you're talking about an inherently progressive display like a LCD, and source video that's basically rendered to digital film of infinite sensitivity one frame of infinitely-short duration at a time. It turns out, motion blur encodes a hell of a lot of extra visual information into each frame that naive attempts to apply Nyquist to synthetic video content fail to appreciate.

          The PC videocard industry and gaming industry started to become painfully aware of the problem about 10 years ago, and they're still working on it. The current band-aid is to simulate motion-blur... but motion blur itself becomes visually-tedious after a while.

          Between glasses-free 3D and refresh rates fast enough to make motion-blur unnecessary, there's still plenty of room for future advancement in videogame and TV technology. We have a long, long way to go before you'll be able to dress up a monitor like a fake window & feel like you're looking outside at a real scene... made longer by the fact that the advancements needed to take videogames to this level go WAY beyond what mass-market consumers are likely to care about, much less demand, for TV-watching purposes. This means the quantum leap that occurred over the past 10 years is more of a fluke than anything, and isn't likely to be sustainable in the long run.

          At some point, the cost burden is going to shift from mass-market consumers subsidizing the technology through billions of general TV sales back to mere millions of high-end gamers driving the market for outrageously expensive (compared to what you'd pay for even an *expensive* TV at Wal Mart) cutting-edge hardware. Think: the gigantic cost leap seen today when you go from 1920x1080 to any higher res (like 2560x1920), but even worse.

    • by Khyber (864651)

      "Yes, yes, I realize people have been declaring Nintendo to be doomed since the Nintendo 64, but just because they survived previous eras doesn't mean they will survive the next one."

      Considering Nintendo's LONG history, dating back to 1889, I don't think you're anywhere close to reality. History tends to repeat itself and Nintendo has yet to prove that wrong.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:52PM (#38732780)
    It should be modular and have upgrade slots following ISO standard interfaces. Perhaps give the option of one or many Intel or AMD cpus and have different graphic options from both NVidia and ATI. Oh, and upgradeable storage & memory.
    • Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:54PM (#38732802)
      Knowing Sony, it will come with a module that lets them remotely disable pieces of hardware.
    • by EEPROMS (889169)
      Yes but that defeats the logic of what makes a console good for both the consumer and the games developers. With a fixed hardware platform there are less un-knowns thus the time to market is faster as the debug cycle is shorter.
    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      This will NEVER happen. You may be able to add storage and peripherals, but that will all on ANY console. Console manufacturers like to give the game publishers a set standard of hardware to develop for. This is supposed to increase the quality of the games, ans once a publisher/developer learns the hardware and its limitations there is no constant learning curve. The fact that this model is flawed does not enter into the equation, because as an added benefit, they get to sell you a brand new console ev
    • by Xeranar (2029624)

      Simple reasons for why PCs can't compete with consoles (and I am a firm PC gamer):

      Price - The cost of manufacturing the mainboards of all three of the consoles is somewhere around 150-250 USD, thus they only need a power supply and a DVD drive to function beyond that. A PC requires a motherboard, CPU, video card, and independent memory not to mention a hard drive. All of that even at the cheapest level is around 200 USD and still lacks an OS.

      OS - Consoles run a scaled down consistent OS that usually shuts

      • by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:31PM (#38733236)

        Price is true, and the scaled down OS is true for the first couple years after the consoles release (after which the increasing power of modern PCs overwhelms the benefits of a leaner OS).

        But development costs? The advantage is clearly with the PC. Sure, it might be cheaper to target one platform, but you have to pay Microsoft or Sony for the privilege of being on their console. There's a reason why many AAA PC games are still $50, while AAA console games are uniformly $60. And for indie games. the market on Steam is absolutely booming, so I don't know where you got this notion that AAA titles are the only ones that can make it on PC.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Price yes, but OS is hardly insurmountable, there are several utilities that will do that for you. Plus, consoles today are essentially just stripped down and optimized computers, it's been quite a while since a console really differed by that much from a computer. I mean hell you could even load Linux on a PS3 early on.

        As for development costs, the PC market is huge compared with the console market. There's plenty of money in PC gaming if they wouldn't go to such lengths to piss off PC gamers.

        • by Xeranar (2029624) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:49PM (#38734242)

          The top 4 selling games for the Xbox 360 outsold all but 1 PC title ever. Wii sold 7 titles more than any PC title ever. PS2 sold 1 and PS3 has sold none more than any PC title ever. (For Reference the best selling PC game of All-time I could find was Sims 3 at 16M copies [wikipedia.org]) I'm being fair here but the market seems to have spoken that just in current consoles they have PC sales beat hand down. PC gaming is really a mixture of AAA game houses like Blizzard, EA, and Ubisoft and much smaller start-ups. It has few middle-sized designers producing for it because they can't afford to invest without a substantial guarantee of return. Consoles offer that. It's why I point out development cost, when you're getting down to indie games where you need less than 25-50 people to develop one of reasonable quality PCs really shine, but they have a huge gap in size and that's where consoles are bread and butter winners because a good ship for a Wii game is a million units while a good ship for a PC game is 100,000. It's a different set of logistics all together.

          As for pricing, 60 bucks is being squeezed out of console players because the distribution system is controlled by a handful of players. Since department stores and discount stores are largely out of it (barring Wal-Mart) gamers get their games in physical locations from less than 3-4 outlets in a given location. They've monopolized the system and have justified the increase in price for profit. PC games are even more limited physically but tend to have a greater expanse online and with the intro of Steam and other competing systems it keeps the price in check.

          As for the main point: Unified architecture means a designer has a target. If a game runs smoothly on a PC with ultra-high-end equipment that's wonderful, how does it play on a 4 year old rig with an AMD Dual-core Athlon II and a x800 video card? They don't have to prepare for multiple dynamics within a video card or CPU or even operating system variances. They simply have to write a game that will be using a PowerPC chip and an ATI or Nvidia custom video chip with a certain amount of Ram. It's the real advantage consoles have and its why every time they fiddle around with a power upgrade option it causes an uproar because usually it's expensive and it means leaving a relatively large portion of users behind. Think of the Sega CD or 32X. They were both perfect examples of upgrading the existing system with new technology and ultimately both failed because they were held back by older architecture and price. The speed we're seeing now though shouldn't be an issue to offer backwards compatibility through emulation for everything though so the need to be "upgradable" is really a limited concept.

      • This comes back to the age old argument - one generalised device (a PC for example) which is capable of many things vs several smaller/cheaper appliances.

        When I was growing up, we preferred the generalised device. It was a one off hit to the wallet, but the games cost the same as the consoles - and it could be used as a word processor/spreadsheet. Overall that worked out as being cheaper.

        Now PCs are getting so cheap - a crappy Acer laptop good enough to do word processor/spreadsheets is almost as cheap as a

  • Rule #1: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoldySpore (1280634) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:55PM (#38732812)

    Don't advertise features that you may later remove completely

    While I was not one of the ones who missed the OtherOS feature, for some it was a huge deal. I would hope the uproar over losing this option will teach Sony not to include and make light of large feature sets that they wind up removing later, after the fact. Regardless of what that feature may or may not be, I don't think it is cool to remove stuff that originally came with the system. I don't think anyone wants to see features disappear from a piece of hardware they own just because they want to stay up to date with the latest firmware/updates, and that doesn't just go for PS4 either.

    • by ThorGod (456163)

      Don't advertise features that you may later remove completely

      That's a crucial point! It'd be like telling a girl "I was considering buying you a 5 kt diamond but I decided to buy you a 3 kt diamond instead and buy myself a computer w/the leftovers." Sometimes the backstory can ruin the deal.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        No, it's more like buying a girl a 4 kt diamond ring then later replacing it with a 3kt diamond if she wants you to clean the dishes and explaining it to her that this is because some other woman down the street only has a 3 kt diamond ring.

    • Care a lot more about your own network infrastructure and security, and a bit less about the console control and security.

      PS3 is open cracked despite all your efforts, and the stolen information (credit cards, for God's sake!) and downtime from the PSN will be a stain (not to mention all the money this costed!) on your image for a long time.

    • by freman (843586)

      Too late, it doesn't matter if the PS4 literally was required to live* I wouldn't buy it because I was one that does miss the OtherOS feature and did pay a premium ($750ish) to get a console (my first since the sega megadrive (genesis for some) with the feature.

      Sony have burned some customers forever - I'll never be back and even try avoid them in other enterprises (seen many sony pictures lately?)

      * feature pending removal.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        There's that, but there's also the poor packaging in terms of informing buyers that this unit isn't a full PS3, it's missing otheros or the ability to play PS2 games or whatever. I genuinely feel for people who bought a unit with the otheros feature only to have that taken. But, the removal of features without any markings on the box to indicate the lack of functionality is pretty disgusting IMHO.

        • Not being backwards compatible with PS2 games is why I didn't upgrade. Glad I didn't in the end considering the PSN mess.

          I don't know the first thing about the underlying OS (nor do I care, it's a console - that's the point of them!). But the key for them keeping their PS2 customers and turning them into PS3 customers should really have been having a PS2 emulator (or even native PS2) on the PS3.

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        I'll say you paid a premium to get it: about 25% over the MSRP. of the most expensive model.
    • by Brain-Fu (1274756) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:16PM (#38733606) Homepage Journal

      Sony released audio CDs that put rootkits on consumer's PCs, without informing them. After being sued for this, they did it again. They also failed their due diligence on security, causing their entire client base to have private data stolen. Combine this with their habit of selling features and then subsequently removing those very features, and I don't understand why *anybody* buys products form Sony.

      I will never trust Sony again.

    • I think PS4 will need to be a total "reinvention" of the device - first thing they need to do is look at all the people who didn't buy PS3s and figure out how to appeal to them. Anybody who did buy a PS3 (myself included) is likely pissed off enough with them to avoid the PS4 at any price. I don't care to think about the hours I sunk into "OtherOS" getting it setup and working, or the hours I have spent waiting 10+ minutes for an "update" that's blocking me from accessing the features I've already bought,

  • I don't care what kind of hardware or architecture they adopt, but the damn thing better well play all my PS3 games which I have spent A LOT of money on. It was bad enough going to the XBOX 360 and finding out not all my titles were compatible ... there's enough horsepower in the hardware today to at least guarantee that older titles can run in some emulation mode, even in a different hardware family.
    • by cmburns69 (169686)

      I want backwards compatiblity as much as you, but the unfortunate reality of computing is that you can't quickly translate code that was custom-written for 1 architecture into another architecture. Console game developers do an awful lot of fine-tuning to achieve the performance you see, and much of it relies on the specific design of the chip being used in the previous system.

      To whit, even emulating the N64 (16 years old) takes a reasonably beefy modern machine!

      Simply put, the easiest way to emulate the pr

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I really don't understand how it was accomplished, but UltraHLE [wikipedia.org] was capable of running N64 even on my old PII 266 MhZ. The games even looked better in emulation because they ran in higher resolution. There's still emulators out there that can't compete with what was accomplished in UltraHLE.
        • by jonwil (467024)

          UltraHLE simulated the N64 hardware by looking for specific known functions for graphics rendering and stuff and patching them to call directly to vaguely compatible x86 versions of those functions.

    • by Junta (36770)

      I would add to that restore PS2 compatibility.

      If they stick to a Cell design, they could almost certainly do it. If they deviate (seems likely, IBM and Toshiba are pretty well out of the game, though a process shrunk Cell 2 may still provide some boost, but even that design is already years old) that's going to be nearly impossible. Cross-arch emulation around the same generation is nearly impossible to do right.

  • by A12m0v (1315511) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:56PM (#38732818) Journal

    Never release another console for $599. How can posters here forget the real problem the PS3 had, especially at launch?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MoldySpore (1280634)

      Agreed. This was the biggest reason I didn't get a PS3 until almost 4 years into it's launch. I simply couldn't justify paying that much. Especially after they dropped the backward compatible model and removed the other OS feature. Waited til I saw the slim version for close to $200 before taking the plunge.

      Also, with the exception of Final Fantasy, every game I wanted to play was on the PC in higher resolution and the ability to mod. To be honest, even Final Fantasy might not be enough to get me to purchas

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Given the current global economy I think $250-$350 at launch is realistic.

      People could get away with $600 sale prices because:

      a) really low yields on bleeding edge tech made widespread distribution nearly impossible
      b) lax regulations on credit laws pumped a bunch of cash in to western markets (and households)

      Now we're paying the price for those boom years, die fab tech has come a long ways in the last 6 years (the last 6 years represent nearly 20% of the entire lifespan of the moder

  • Security should be a key consideration, don't have a crappy back end that gets hacked.

  • by ThorGod (456163) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:00PM (#38732870) Journal

    Include a way to hook up a keyboard and mouse, out of the box.

    • You mean like two USB ports located conveniently on the front?

      • by ThorGod (456163)

        Preferably, a wireless set of USB ports (just some black box with two ports). They could sell a $50 "lapdesk" for the kb/mouse to sit on and feel proud of themselves, too...

      • USB is so 10 years ago, how about the latest bluetooth chipset?
  • Customer Service (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Sony should remember it is there to provide customers with what they want and are willing to pay for, rather than there to wage war on them.

  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:15PM (#38733046)

    Sony Corp. (SNE)â(TM)s Kazuo Hirai said the PlayStation 3 console will have a 10-year lifespan, suggesting the 5-year-old video-game player wonâ(TM)t be replaced soon.

    How is it that Kaz Hirai says that Sony will be supporting the PS3 as a ten year device but they only allowed the consumers to purchase one year warranties when the system launched? If they truly believed that people would be playing the PS3 for another ten years they why is there no warranty that covers at least ten years of use? If I purchase a game system that is going to be supported with ten years of software then why is SONY not confident that the hardware will hold up for ten years and they'll only give out a warranty that covers one or two years at most?

    Of course the reason why is obvious. Launch models are not built to last. The differences between launch models and slim models are numerous. I purchased five launch PS3s, the hardware backwards compatible models, and they all died within three years. The cost of replacing just one out of warranty PS3? Over $200 per unit through Sony customer support. When Sony is not even confident in the ten year life expectancy of a launch product it was rather aggravating when I read from the president that they saw the consoles as "ten year" products.

    And honestly the hardware failures that I had with launch PS3s were basically pleasant experiences compared to the constant nightmares I had with 360 units suffering the RROD. MS sent me two refurbished launch 360s and those both red ringed within a week. It was another few weeks before people started to realize that something was very wrong with 360 hardware.

    If MS and SONY are building these devices for 7-10 year cycles then allow us to purchase warranties to cover the devices during those years. Or at least lower the price of a repair. I cannot possibly see how it is respectful to a consumer to demand $200 to fix a defective unit on top of the $500-$600 that it cost at retail to initially purchase the device.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      You're buying a piece of consumer electronics. It's not ruggedized military hardware, despite what the commercials might lead you to believe. It doesn't even have a real metal case, for goodness sake.

      2 years is generous for bleeding edge technology. You can't even get a 10 year factory warranty from asian car makers. Just buy a 10 year warranty through a third party. The cost of a 10 year warranty for a $600 console would probably cost you $400.

      If you wanted a launch PS3 with 10-year durable

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        Furthermore, I think it's absolutely incredible that people could buy these miniature supercomputers (they're still on par with a 2010 PC computer) and expect them to run flawlessly for a decade. I mean, sure, electronics technology has come a long ways in the last 20 years, but you're talking about a device that is going to pump literally half a million cubic feet of air (10 years * 80cfm) through it, dust and all, and function guaranteed , without service for a decade. That's mind blowing.

        Sure, s

    • by xero314 (722674)

      You can buy ten years of warranty on a PS3 (at least in the USA, can't speak for others). The first year comes free with the purchase of the console. The second year has a variable cost depending on when you buy it and you don't need to purchase it until you are concerned about the life of the console or the console actually breaks. If you purchase it before it breaks, the cost is exactly the same as the current console cost minus the current trade in value. This is often about $100. If you wait until

  • by forgottenusername (1495209) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:24PM (#38733184)

    1) Allow all discs to play on ps4 - at least ps2+ps3. People don't want to spend a ton of money on a new console & invalidate all their past purchases which are still quite playable, or jack around with changing out consoles all the time. It's a hassle to unplug/replug for most people.

    2) Quit removing features because of your paranoia - the OtherOS debacle should have gotten some people fired. Either leave it in there or never put it in there.

    3) Fix your fuggin security for reals. From what I've heard from my friends who work at Sony, they've just patched up a few weak spots that were vulnerable but their overall model is totally lacking. It's prevented me from re-upping subscription to a few games (like Vanguard) just because I don't want to trust them with their CC info.

    More of a general sony point but still.

    4) Allow for more mods / customization. I briefly used ps3 as HTPC but it's so limited in the formats it supports, ways of mounting to media etc it's just more of a hassle than its worth. I ended up going with xbmc on a PC.

    5) Motion control is the future. Get better at it. The ps3 move is questionable; crappy titles, camera is a hassle in non-optimal light situations etc. For instance, Fight Night: Lights Out is a really good game, but it's totally ruined by subpar headtracking even in optimal light situations.

    A few minor points;

    - USB controllers should charge from pretty much any USB power source. My ps3 controllers are super picky for some reason.

    - Use standardized friggin power button. It's incredibly ridiculous that you have to push the PS button on a controller to power the unit on, or push the button in the front. Used to drive me crazy when I drove it with harmony remote

    • I agree with all points except for number 5. Motion control simply is not the future. There is no way for it not to be gimmicky. Even in games like Skyward Sword which made good use of motion controls the game still felt like they were tacked on. There really aren't any games out there that give motion controls justice. At the end of the day, I don't want to flail my arms around.

      Sony needs to make it a priority to eliminate loading times. They were acceptable back in 1994 when the PS1 first was released
  • by erroneus (253617)

    Give it up. I don't love you any more. I don't think I ever did. Every time I tried to love you, you shat on me and expected me to love it. Sony, you are not Apple. Only Apple has the ability to do that. I hope there is no PS4. There doesn't need to be one. And I predict if/when there is, people will not be lining up to get them. They will atttempt to create their artificial shortages to pump up the demand, but they'll find people just aren't interested enough.

    • Sony, you are not Apple. Only Apple has the ability to do that.

      A guy in a bar told me the PS4 controller will be a shiny scroll wheel.

    • Oh, I'm sure the next generation or so of the AppleTV will eat the lunch of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft...combined! Apple has a game plan, you can count on that. Soon their all powerful ring (app store) for the iOS platform will rule them all!

      You seriously didn't think Apple got over the whole Pippin loss did you?

  • by Dr Max (1696200) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:03PM (#38733500)
    How about not suing the customers, and allowing an other OS to be installed for the life of the product not just the first 6 months.
  • by AHuxley (892839) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:32PM (#38733740) Homepage Journal
    1. Less cpu numbers but faster - Todays developers can only just get 2 cores working on average for non video/math problems - no need to add lots of unused cores.
    2. Better gpu - fast, no hardware bottlenecks to save a few cents. Get as much bright moving images from the math skills of developers up on the display within the 1080p range.
    3. Embrace Linux - if some person makes their generations Tetris, Myst/HyperCard, bird game - the PR glow is a net positive - give the game away with every unit shipped/sold game and be nice to the team/person who used your product to show it to the world. Support them.
    4. Make it not hard to code with your product after buying into the system - make it easy to make great looking games early on.
    5. Don't turn stuff off via the magic of networking.
    6. Education - with cheap open hardware products allowing people to build basic kits, projects and learn about hardware, software - why not allow impressionable young minds do the same with add on devices while looking at the word SONY for the length of the lesson a few times every week. Give free software to the teachers and help them with lesson plans after they buy in big.
    Let them buy 'homework' hardware and make family, friends and siblings look at the word SONY over weekends and holidays for hours.
    7. More education - target universities with open code and deep hardware options. With the extra hardware and software your brand with win over a smart new generation - for free. The extra quality/speed of SONY based gpu/cpu robotics let that .edu WIN big at robot 'games'
    Crush the teams that show up with buggy code after reverse engineering children's toys.
    8. Secure your networks.
    • by bfree (113420)

      3. Embrace Linux - if some person makes their generations Tetris, Myst/HyperCard, bird game - the PR glow is a net positive - give the game away with every unit shipped/sold game and be nice to the team/person who used your product to show it to the world. Support them.

      I think they would have to do something like make a >$100m donation to the FSF and put >$10b in some sort of FSF approved escrow before that strategy will get them anywhere. If they announced Linux support on the PS4 I would imagine that any positive noises would be drowned out by a million people crying out something along the lines of "fool me once ... you won't fool me again".

      If they try this, I hope that the first journalist who is in the presence of a Sony representative making any claims about

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Makes you wonder why that mass email never made it into court during the class action lawsuit.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:43PM (#38733830)
    Here are a few things that I'd like fixed:

    Get rid of load times. If I'm playing a game where I'm supposed to be immersed in it, a loading screen just kills the idea that you are part of the game. This isn't 1994 anymore.

    Get rid of region locking on everything. Including digital downloads. There's no reason why I shouldn't be able to enjoy a game even if it isn't translated into my language or "localized". Similarly, there should be some way to gift digital downloads seamlessly between regions.

    Stop removing features. Updates are supposed to /add/ features, not remove them.

    Seamless emulation between consoles. Not having proper PS2 emulation I'm sure is a contributing factor to why the PS3 finished in third. When the PS2 basically defined the previous generation, it isn't a great idea to decide to make your next generation console compatible with it.

    Better build quality. No red ring of death, yellow light of death, or an overheating GPU like the Wii.
  • by tompaulco (629533) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:43PM (#38733834) Homepage Journal
    I have a couple of suggestions:
    1. Don't EOL the dual shock controller. I don't mind if other people like using the wand type controller, but I find it extremely difficult to control the game with wand type controllers.
    2. Make games backwards compatible. They advertised that PS3 would be able to play PS2 games, but it doesn't. The PS4 should be able to play previous PS games.
    3. Make games that you don't have to download extra cost items to play.
    4. Makes games that have a rich single player experience and don't require you to have to play online with other people.

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